The following interview appeared in the magazine Wrestling Fury Volume 11 Number 3, June 1988 - and looks back over the period between Tom Zenk's departure from WWF (July 10, 1987) and his signing for another tour with AWA in mid 1988.   

Having been effectively barred by McMahon from working in America for the remainder of his contract term with WWF, Tom Zenk spent the fall of 1987 "raking leaves" in his garden before touring Japan (in November and December of that year). But even in Japan he was not spared McMahon's efforts to profit from his work.  

This interview is interesting in not following the "in-character" style of many wrestling interviews and is more than usually revealing of aspects of Zenk's personality -   

    a strong emphasis on personal independence - including a concern to avoid financial commitments that would force him into unacceptable working conditions. "Nobody's going to use me ..... I'm in control of my life now."   

    idealism mixed with realism -  including the desire to achieve improvements in "the boys" working conditions - by way of group insurance and unionization; but, at the same time, a realistic assessment of the difficulty of organizing "the boys", given their extreme individualism and the intimidatory tactics of promoters - "In this business, the promoter is the pimp and the wrestler the whore. The boys have no rights."   

    enjoyment of performance - "It's always nice working for a full house"  and at the same time, a realistic understanding that "you never know how long you can last in this business."  

    an easy going attitude which seems to have frustrated other people's plans for his future  - "From what I hear, I'll never make anything of myself. Just ask Verne Gagne!" And in Rick Martel's case -  "He just kept telling me to hang in for a few years, make some money and THEN leave. I finally got ticked off. I don't like being used." 

Significantly, the interview also adds to - or rather detracts from - speculation about the break up of the Can-Am Connection. According to Zenk, the break up came, quite simply, as a consequence of his failure to obtain a satisfactory return on his work for WWF -   
    "it was nothing sleazy or scandalous. It was a money dispute. I felt that I was being shafted. The W.W.F. was making good money off of me but my payoff wasn't that great." 
 
 
 
TOM ZENK SPEAKS OUT
by CIJI Brianne/ original photos by Linda Boucher
 
 
 
 
 
"There should always be a percentage for the boys. After all, the promotion is capitalizing on their face/image." 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After Can-Am,  Tom Zenk spent late November to mid December, 1987 in All Japan Pro-Wrestling ....
" I was teamed up with The Terminator. Our styles didn't really click, though, since he works like Demolition and I like fast, high flying moves."
   
 
 
back to AWA 1